The Big Zombie Tour | The Walking Dead
Last week, I shared my experience with the first part of the Big Zombie Tour in Atlanta. Today, I want to discuss the second part that covered location shots in the small towns of Senoia, Grantville, Newnan and Haralson, Georgia. Senoia is roughly fifty miles away from the main tour offices in Atlanta. So, you would have to either drive there on your own or use their shuttle service.
The cost of the shuttle is $30.00 RT per person and is well worth it if you are directionally challenged as I am. On the drive there, we decided to eat our packed lunch and were treated to episodes of The Walking Dead on the tv monitors that were installed throughout the cabin.
Once we reached the city of Senoia, it was evident that the main street was the setting for the fictionalized town of Woodbury:
The driver instructed us to go to the Woodbury Shoppe (where the Walking Dead store is housed) on the corner so that we could check in for the second half of the tour. This store was a Walking Dead fan’s dream. There was nothing that they did not sell that would not make a true fan’s eyes glaze over. But I couldn’t bring myself to splurge on the $270.00 katana sword!
The most intriguing aspect of the Woodbury Shoppe was what we found downstairs. There is a full-service cafe called the Waking Dead. Right outside the entrance, the walls are covered with autographs from the stars of our favorite show:
Once everyone had checked in, it was time to board the shuttle for the first part of our journey; a visit to the Oaks Inn in Newnan. When Rick agreed to surrender Michonne into the hands of the Governor, Merle Dixon decided to do the dirty work fearing that Rick wouldn’t have the guts to do it.
He abducts her and takes her down an empty road explaining what and why he was doing this. On the way, he stops at this motel to hot-wire a car which inadvertently trips the alarm system. In no time, they are swarmed by a herd of walkers but manage to kill enough of them to make a safe getaway.
Just up the road, we happened upon this old antebellum style house. I quickly identified it as where Carl ate 112 ounces of chocolate pudding in the “After” episode during Season Four. It looks so much better tidied up.
The next part of our journey took us to Haralson, Georgia. Like many small towns that have outlived its manufacturing past, there remain shadows of it left behind. This old mill was used as a focal point of the opening credits during the entirety of Season three.
This and other surrounding buildings predate Sherman’s March to the sea but survived the burning of Atlanta. As a result, location scouts scored a gold mine with these sets.
The old mill is surrounded by other familiar landmarks used throughout that season. The tentacles that you see behind the feed mill are these five old grain silos. It is the place where Merle played pied piper with a car radio to lure walkers to Woodbury to finish off the Governor and his men.
Of course, he did not succeed. It’s also where Andrea, Daryl, and Martinez took down a group of walkers who came out of the woods. While the Governor and Rick were meeting to discuss how their respective groups would co-exist.
A few yards further is where Daryl discovers his brother, Merle is not only dead, but he’s the walking kind. It was a very heart-wrenching scene because lifetime thug Merle had just redeemed himself by refusing to give into the Governor’s demand to turn over Michonne. His failed attempt to kill them off resulted in his demise. Witnessing his brother feast on another human and his guilt in not being able to save him almost destroyed Daryl.
In arguably the best episode of The Walking Dead Season 3, “Clear,” Rick is reunited with his friend from the show’s pilot, Morgan. Morgan has suffered the loss of a wife whom he couldn’t bring himself to destroy after she turned.
As a result, she was able to take the life of their son sometime later. Also, he felt abandoned by Rick who promised to contact him every day via a walkie-talkie. But that promise was quickly discarded as soon as Rick found his own family.
When they cross paths again, it’s ‘clear’ that Morgan’s mental health is compromised. He’s gone back to secure all of the munitions from the Sheriff’s office. He’s built a veritable fortress to protect himself from the walkers on the top floor of an abandoned building.
It’s apparent that he doesn’t have much use for human visitors either judging from the numerous warnings issued to those who dare breach his fortress. The scenes for this episode was filmed in Grantville, and the actual mayor of the town owns the apartment where Morgan was barricaded.
Final Verdict: This tour is very comprehensive, and as the seasons progress, I’m sure it will expand to include more locations. The tour guides are very knowledgeable, polite and courteous. They are only too happy to share background info about certain scenes throughout the show.
If you happen to be visiting the Atlanta area or may already live here, do yourself a favor. If you love the Walking Dead, this tour is a must see. Don’t wait too long. We were a little bummed to learn that the majority of the Woodbury ‘set’ as well as the prison, were not only destroyed on screen but off screen as well.
Full Disclosure: Atlanta Movie Tours sponsored my visit, but the review is my own opinion about my experience taking this tour.